Monthly Archives: May 2014

Something Amiss – How can the Hold of Religion Overpower Even a Mother’s Love?

I am privileged enough to be a mother to three wonderful young men.  I’ll never forget the first time I held my first child and the intense wave of protectiveness and fierce love that swept over me.  Like most mothers I knew right then that I would die for this tiny human before I would let anything harm it.  There is something very primal, very acute, and very ancient about that motherly love.  It enables us to survive sleepless nights, keep watch like a hawk, and always always want the best for our offspring – despite our own hopes and desires for them.  There is no other selfless love than that of a mother.

This devotion is the reason we experience such raw complete pain when we are on the outs with our children.   So far, cross my fingers, I’ve yet to encounter any difficulties with my own boys but I have a couple of sisters whose children have distanced themselves and I see the exorbitant amount of pain and anguish they endure – I hurt for them as only another mother can.  It makes me thankful for the relationships I have with my boys, and keeps me mindful to tend them as diligently as I tend my yard and flowers.

And yet, despite this innate adoration that we experience as mothers, and the pain that accompanies a broken relationship with a child, there are some who would willingly, consciously, unswervingly choose a religion over their child.   I know this because one of my dearest and best friends is currently walking a very fine line with her mother in the hopes that she and her infant son are not shunned completely from her parents life – all because, like any normal human,  she questions the faith she was indoctrinated with as a child.   I ache for her and worry for her.  I wonder at the ‘omnipotence’ of a god who would direct his followers to act as if their children didn’t exist. But mostly, I wonder at the ability of a single denomination of a single religion in a series of man made religions to have such a hold over its followers that even a mother would forsake her own flesh and blood. 

I simply cannot fathom it.

In fact, it is unnatural.  It is wholly unnatural for a mother to forsake her love for her child and abandon it as if it never were.  It goes completely against our motherly instincts.  I can only conclude then, that the religion which teaches the anachronistic practice of shunning must have an unhealthy hold on its adherents if it would override a mothers love and devotion.  

This surmise bears out over several academic disciplines, psychology and sociology for instance.  History has given us plenty of examples of cults and sects whose practices require them to completely shut off the outside world and anything to do with it – even family members.   In a more intimate relationship, say between a man and a woman, if he isolates his partner, keeps her from friends and family and feeds her consistent lies about the way the world works,  we do not hesitate call it abuse.  Yet, religion – and the omnipotent god it supports – does that very thing, to the point of triumphing a mother’s innate love .

There is something horribly amiss about the idea.

Here’s to a mother’s love…let no thing….including religion….drive it asunder.

Frankie


Going Back to Work: A Short Story

Carole waited behind the rest of the housekeepers to clock in and then made her way to the cart room with them as well.  Sort of.  She trailed behind with a couple of the older ‘girls’, unable to keep up with the younger generation whose laughter and chit chat echoed along the hallway.

It was her second week back to work and her body was still acclimatizing to the new change.  By that I mean that most of Carole’s sixty something being was aching or paining in some way as she padded along.  Her back was especially sore these past two days since she developed a limp from a blister on her foot due to a new pair of shoes and the limp made her use her back muscles in ways they weren’t meant to be used.  She was exhausted.

About the second or third room into her day she found a rhythm and managed to finish all twelve rooms.  Carole was allotted four hours but it took her four and a half and when she got home she grabbed a glass of ice tea and sat down on the couch to put her tired feet up.

“How was yer day Luv?”  Ed’s gravelly voice reflected her own haggard state and she replied, “Not bad.  We only had twelve rooms today and managed to keep up a bit better.  I am happy that tomorrow is my ‘friday.’ ”

“I am so sorry you have to go back to work Luv,” Ed said as he brought her an ice pack for her back. She knew he meant it.  Ed always prided himself on being able to provide for his family but since his last heart attack he could no longer work.  He had a modest pension, but increasing medical bills, prescriptions and food and everything else made it difficult for them to maintain.  Carole worked just a couple of days a week as a secretary when the kids were in school and that was the extent of her work history.  It took some adjusting within the both of them to see Carole become the ‘breadwinner’.

Ed sat down next to her and opened the bottle of ibuprofen to give to Carole, who upended it to empty three tablets in her hand and then she gulped them down.  As she handed the bottle back to Ed she noticed the tears start to form in his eyes again.

“Now stop Dearest,” she said and wiped the first of the tears from his cheek.  “We are in this together and its really okay.”  Ed could not contain himself any longer and he broke down at these last words.  This was a daily ritual for them since Carole started back to work.  Ed couldn’t help himself.  His dear sweet wife being forced to work at this age and after all this time was a difficult situation for his manly pride to bear.  A part of him was crushed.

Carole found it best to just sit and let the moment pass, she rubbed his hand and kissed his cheeks until he finally composed himself several solemn moments later.    She turned his attention to dinner and asked how the roast in the crock pot was coming along.

“Just fine,” he answered, “and I think I’ve figured out the right way to make the potatoes this time,” referring to the distinct taste Carole always managed to give them – her secret was half and half, lots of butter and plenty of pepper.

“Sounds lovely Dearest, ” she said, smiling adoringly “You’ll be cooking as well as our son in no time!” she laughed.  It was a long standing joke in the family that Sam was even a better cook than Carole.

“Pfffft!”  Ed retorted, “I am not so sure about that, but I do know the value of a good vacuum cleaner now.”  Since his wife went to work, Ed took it upon himself to do all the house chores.  He had Carole teach him laundry and dishes before she went to work so that he could take them over once she did.  It was the least he could do and it helped immensely to ease his guilt and keep him busy during the days she was gone.

The rest of the evening passed as usual with casual conversation about how much things had changed the past twenty years interspersed with the latest family gossip.  They clung to each other mentally and emotionally within this quiet routine and the familiarity of each other.  Ed fixed her plate, the same way Carole use to do for him, and got her bath ready after dinner.   He laid out her uniform for the next day before going to bed.  They snuggled in together, whispering short “I love you’s” in  various form and drifted to sleep together, still holding hands.

At exactly four thirty hours Ed awoke and started the coffee for Carole.  His internal clock never let him sleep past this time for as long as he could remember.   He fixed her breakfast and packed her lunch and tenderly saw her off to work three hours later.  Once her car round the corner of his street, he sat down at the dining table and bawled as if he were three years old again, unbeknownst to his beloved.   Ed would never adjust to the idea of his wife working for as long as he had a breath to breathe.

Meanwhile, Carole waited behind the rest of the housekeepers to clock in…….

 

 

Author’s note:  This story is dedicated to the thousands of senior citizens who’ve had to join the working ranks these past two decades as a result of the financialization revolution.  May they find peace……